Two environmental activists cling to a Van Gogh in a London museum

Two environmental activists cling to a Van Gogh in a London museum

ECOLOGY – On the board! Two environmental activists from the “Just Stop Oil” movement glued themselves this Thursday, June 30 to the frame of a painting of Vincent Van Gogh in the Courtauld Gallery of London, as you can see in the video at the top of the article.

Just Stop Oil is a militant group for the climate to UK. Its demand is to stop all new infrastructure linked to fossil fuels. To get their message across, activists dressed in orange t-shirts with “Just Stop Oil” written on them are using civil resistance.

In the London museum, they aimed at the painting Peach trees in bloom painted by Van Gogh in 1889. “Sorry everyone, we don’t feel like doing this, we are glued to this painting, this beautiful painting, because we are terrified for our future”, explained in a video posted online by the organization Louis McKechnie, a 21-year-old activist.

Referring to the “40 new government fossil fuel projects”, a figure frequently quoted by environmental associations, he considered that signing each of them was equivalent to “signing our death warrant”.

Just Stop Oil points out that this action comes at a time when Provence, the region of southern France painted by Van Gogh, is at risk of suffering from drought. “After a dry winter and spring in which rainfall was 45% below historical averages, followed by an extreme heat wave in May and June, France is desperately short of water,” the group said in a statement. Press release.

Joined by AFP, the Courtauld Gallery explained that the room where the painting is exhibited had been “immediately closed to the public” after the two activists stuck to the frame in the afternoon. The museum expects a normal reopening this Friday, July 1.

Louis McKechnie who is not at his first attempt

Louis McKechnie has already been arrested 20 times for his activism. He particularly distinguished himself last March after attaching himself to a goal post during the Premier League match between Everton and Newcastle. The 21-year-old also spent six weeks in prison this winter for blocking the motorway that surrounds London with other activists.

He had recently told AFP that he was ready to become a “public enemy N.1” to warn about the climate crisis and saw “no real” limits, as long as the actions are “non-violent” and do not endanger lives.

According to Just Stop Oil, five of its activists were arrested on Wednesday after an action at a museum in Glasgow, Scotland.

There they painted inscriptions on the floor and a wall and glued themselves to the frame of a 19th century painting depicting a landscape of the Scottish Highlands.

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